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Brian Ferentz says father no Luddite

[ 0 ] April 17, 2013 |

Brian Ferentz — the 30-year-old son of Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz and the offensive line coach for the Hawkeyes — can joke about his father.

“Alternate uniforms? That’s not really in his personality … I’ve seen his closet,” Brian Ferentz said.

But there is a limit to the jokes.

Brian Ferentz made sure that the media assembled at the spring football press conference on Wednesday understood that his father was not stuck in the Stone Age.

“I do bristle at the notion that we are archaic or that our head coach is — I want to make sure I pronounce this right — is it Luddite? … Because he’s not. He’s got an iPhone and he’s got an iPad,” Brian Ferentz said.

A Luddite, for anyone asleep that day in history class, is someone who fears technology. The term dates to Ned Ludd, who led early 19th-century craftsmen to burn factories and destroy machines in protest during the industrial revolution.

Kirk Ferentz, 57, is sometimes perceived as an intractable, old-school coach. He has stuck with a pro-style, ground-and-pound offense when a lot of flashier college programs have gone to the spread offense.

He stays off of social media and keeps his players off of Twitter.

But high school players are all over Twitter. Iowa recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson, 40, was one of the first Hawkeye coaches to embrace Twitter. (Five of the 10 coaches, plus strength coach Chris Doyle, have Twitter accounts.)

“I think that’s unique to every person,” Brian Ferentz said of Twitter. “I really think if you saw our head coach on Twitter or doing those kinds of things, those aren’t in his personality. That’s not natural to him.”

Kirk Ferentz, who has turned over half of his coaching staff in the past two years, has said in the past he does not fear change.

“I don’t think we need to throw the whole system out, that’s for sure,” Kirk Ferentz said on Feb. 22. “But fresh ideas are good, certainly, and if there’s someone that can do something to supplement what we’re already doing, that’s a great thing.”

When Brian Ferentz was hired along with LeVar Woods, 35, last spring, it was a partial infusion of youth on a coaching staff that had been in place since 1999.

Still, despite three more new hires this spring — including Chris White, 45, and Bobby Kennedy, 46 — there are five members of the Hawkeye coaching staff eligible for their AARP cards.

Most of whom, by the way, keep a sense of humor about such things.

“We send pigeons out ahead of time to make sure the schools know we are (coming),” defensive line coach Reese Morgan, 62, said. “What’s that telegram thing coming out, Western Union-gram?”

Morgan isn’t on Twitter, but doesn’t think technology equals success.

“I don’t have an iPhone, I have an fPhone. A flip phone. So I communicate that way,” Morgan said. “I really think, you really come down to relationships again, and I know Brian said that. I don’t want to sound redundant.

“But just people know if you care about them.”

Age is relative. Good coaches find a way to relate to players. And even young coaches like Brian Ferentz struggle with how fast communication is changing.

“I know how to use Twitter and I just recently learned about Vine and I didn’t even know about what that was two weeks ago. You won’t see me on there anytime soon,” Brian Ferentz said. “Instagram, if somebody can give me a crash course, I’m still trying to figure out. You can Tweet a picture, correct? Can we all agree with that? So why do you need Instagram?

“Maybe I’m my father’s son sometimes. It’s changing so fast that we are trying to stay out there with it, but shoot, it’s hard. We can barely keep up with our players sometimes.”

Brian said it was not his influence that got Iowa to wear throwback uniforms against Iowa State and alternate uniforms against Purdue.

“The notion that I have been responsible … the alternate uniforms have been worn here before, those were in the works,” Brian Ferentz said. “You can’t get that done overnight. Those were in the works way before I got here.”

The times, they are a-changing, even with Iowa football. The continued construction of the new football facility is partial proof of that. Now fans are anxious to see change on the field after a 4-8 season.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Ryan Suchomel: Reach Ryan Suchomel at 339-7368 or rsuchomel@press-citizen.com. View author profile.

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